“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” – Albert Einstein
I wrote an article for The Change Blog titled, “5 Ways to Discover and Nurture Your Intuitive Voice,” where I told the story of how I quit a lousy job and took six months off from work to travel, and in the process found my intuitive voice.
A woman named Judy posted a comment in response that stuck with me.
Judy wrote that my article made her somewhat jealous. She was a mother of two in her 40s who didn’t have the luxury of going on an eat-pray-love trip around the world to find herself, nor did she feel as though she was in a position to take serious risks due to her family responsibilities.
Well, Judy, I got one thing to say to you: “Great point.”
My article was shortsighted with regard to those who have substantial responsibilities (such as raising children). So, I’ve written this follow-on post with 5 additional tips on how to listen to your intuition even when your plate is so full the food is falling off.
First, I’d like to underscore that even though I learned some valuable life lessons on my eat-pray-love trip around the world, it was no vacation.
I would sit at quaint outdoor cafés in Madrid sipping café con leche with the resplendent sun overhead while wallowing in guilt and anxiety because I wasn’t doing something more constructive with my time.
I had taken six months off work to travel because I wanted to escape a miserable job, but sadly, the discontent followed me to each and every outdoor café I visited. I realized too late that I didn’t want to stop working, I wanted to stop doing work I didn’t love to do.
The truth is I enjoy working. And if I travel, I want to feel as though I earned it.
If you’re an especially busy person with massive responsibilities, you probably can’t attempt to escape your problems as I did. But you must resist getting so busy with daily life and caring for others that you neglect your own needs.
Let’s return to Judy’s comment. Her final sentence was: “[Despite my reservations] I will try your steps and see if I can somehow improve my situation in less drastic ways.”
That was beautifully said. Listening to your intuition can include everything from eating more vegetables to quitting your job.
If you’re unclear what I mean by intuition, I’ll offer a few definitions. The more science-minded will prefer Dr. Helen Fisher’s take that your intuition is a form of unconscious reasoning that is rooted in the way your brain collects and stores information.
A more spiritual definition offered by Deepak Chopra is that intuition is intelligence beyond the rational mind that gathers information from universal intelligence.
However you define it, your intuition is your internal guidance system, living your life with you, and knowing exactly how busy you are, your level of risk aversion, and the balance of your checking account.
In short, your intuition will never guide you to a place that is outside the parameters of your comfort zone.
It will, however, push you to the limits, especially if there is a fear you need to confront before you can move on.
I encourage you to read the 5 steps I offered in my previous post, and below are 5 more written for those of you who are particularly busy or are responsible for the care of others or both.
1. Find at least 5 quiet minutes per day only for you.
Most of us can find 5 minutes in our day, which often leads to the 15-20+ minutes we really need to reflect on where we’re at and where we want to go. Intuitive insight often arrives in the pure clarity of silence.
2. Talk to your intuition.
Ask your intuition the questions that are most on your mind – big and small. If an answer doesn’t arrive immediately, look for signs in the coming days. For example, if asking whether you should go back to school, and a university flyer arrives in the mail the next day, followed by news that your Great Uncle Fred passed away and left you enough money to cover the tuition – then I’d say that’s your intuition talking.
3. Treat your big life changes as a creative process.
Making big, sudden life changes can seem daunting when you have a lot of responsibilities. That’s why it’s better to treat these changes as a fluid creative process that happens over months, years, or even decades. Spending time with your intuitive voice each day will provide slow clarity over time and offer manageable action steps to advance your goals.
4. Write and REVIEW.
Find a special notebook to record intuitive insight and make sure to review what you wrote the previous day or days. We humans need constant reminding if we’re trying to make changes to our life or daily routine.
5. Include action items on your to-do list…and do it!
If we don’t take the actions necessary to change our life for the better, nothing will change – no matter how much clarity we have. When your intuition guides you to take an action, write it down in a place where you’ll remember to do it. If you have a daily planner or sticky notes on the refrigerator, put it all together. For example: buy toothpaste, pick-up dry cleaning, buy new easel and paint brushes, spend 15 minutes painting today, etc
Remember, all big changes are comprised of several small actions. Vow to start taking small, intuitive actions today to align yourself closer to your passions.
Judy, this post is dedicated to you and others like you who have big responsibilities but are ready to reach for your highest goals.
I’d love to know what you think. How do you carve out quiet time in your day for you? Has your intuition ever given you a small action that has had a big impact on your life?
Photo by Daniel Lee